You have until August 13 (Okinawa time) to submit your theme song for the Worldwide Uchinānchu Festival next year. Visit their website’s page for the contest guidelines but one that stood out is that the theme song must have lyrics in Japanese so sadly no instrumentals. Here are the theme song contest details:
In order to welcome Uchinānchu from around the world who will be participating in the festival, we are looking for a theme song that will enliven the festival pre-events and events promoting exchange with the citizens of Okinawa Prefecture. Please submit a theme song that will fit perfectly with the Worldwide Uchinānchu Festival. ・The length of the song should be no longer than five minutes, the lyrics should be in Japanese, and should not exceed three verses. ・The theme song should be one that makes listeners imagine the Worldwide Uchinānchu Festival and the charm of Okinawa.
While it’s only in Japanese, there’s a YouTube channel called Okinawa History Club (沖縄歴史倶楽部チャンネル) run by historian Maeda Yuuki (links to his Twitter profile). He has videos of Zoom sessions as well as walking tours of Ryukyu history. The 4-part series for the Ryukyu dance “Nubui Kuduchi” is of particular interest as he retraces the path from the Shuri Castle area to Naha Port.
Although the 6-episode web drama “Ghosts Can’t Dance (Yūrei wa Odorenai)” was uploaded to YouTube back in March, I finally finished watching it recently and it’s so good (lots of feels)! Anyone with an interest in Ryukyu culture (both pop and traditional) shouldn’t miss this. The web drama is produced by the Kariyushi Geinou Kouen (Traditional Okinawan Performing Arts) and features the original theme song “Don’t forget” by upcoming singer-songwriter Kina Kanon.
From May 23rd to June 30th 2021, Murasaki Mura is offering free admission to its Ryukyu Kingdom theme park while actually being temporarily closed due to the emergency declaration for Okinawa. Sounds like a great opportunity for picture-taking like @Okinawanderer.
The cast is led by ParanaiSaranai’sChinen Shingo (he’s also the first Kanai/Ryujin Mabuyer!) as King Shō En and features actors and actresses from Okinawa. I found the DVD for sale on Amazon Japan but it’s region code 2 (not playable on US players) so I may have to go the Paravi route which is at least offering 2 weeks for free.
The 7th World Uchinanchu Festival has a date set! It will take place in 2022 from October 31st to November 3rd (note the website counts October 30th as the Festival eve).
The “World Uchinanchu Festival” honors the achievements of Okinawan people from all over the world, recognises the great value of the community heritage of Okinawa , and seeks to expand and develop the Uchina network through exchanges with Okinawan citizens around the world. The purpose is to bring people together, reaffirm their roots and identity, and thereby be able to pass them on to the next generation.
The festival is sponsored by the Uchinanchu Festival Executive Committee of the world, which is organized by Okinawa Prefecture and related organizations, and has been held approximately once every five years since the first festival in 1990 (Heisei 2). It has been held 6 times so far.
JTB has a newsletter you can sign up to for tour package information. They will have escorted group tours and are also able to help you plan for individual travel packages too. Check out their link for more details.
One of my new Twitter follows, KANASA Co-Operative, is one that shares words and stories from Ryūkyū in English. They also have a website with longer form articles about Ryukyuan culture that’s a great resource to deepen your knowledge. One of my favorite articles is about the hidari-gomon that I see everyday when I pick up my sanshin (it’s on the tiiga). From their website:
Established in 2019, KANASA is a modern co-operative committed to the preservation and awareness raising of Ryukyuan stories, histories and cultures, through creative editorials, art and trade.
If you watch one music video on YouTube, this must be it. The MV is an acoustic cover of the very popular J-pop song Hanamizuki by Hitoto Yō (she’s Japanese and Taiwanese) and matches well with Uchinaa-guchi and Ryūkyū instruments, dance and vocals. (Another version to listen to is from Amami Ōshima’s Minami Kizuki.) The music video is a collaboration between guitarist HOMARE of Nanaironote and model/actress/singer Karin Miyagi who recently collaborated with famous Okinawan artist Naka Bokunen for the Chimugasana project. Filming took place at Ryukyu-mura.
Synopsis of the stage play from Tokyograph:
“The Tempest” is based on a 2008 bestselling novel by writer Eiichi Ikegami. The story takes place in the late 19th century, during the reign of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Nakama plays a young woman who, for the sake of her country, poses as a eunuch to become an elite bureaucrat, while also dealing with problems as a woman. This is her first time having to play both a male and female character. Her supporting cast includes Yamamoto as her lover and Namase as her enemy.